Florentijn Hofman was born in 1977 in Delfzijl, the Netherlands. In 2000, he graduated from the Christian Academy of Fine Arts in Kampen, the Netherlands. He later received a master’s degree from Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee in Germany.
Hofman is best known for large animal sculptures in public space. His sculptures are massive in scale, leaving a deep impression on viewers. His oversized Rubber Duck has been traveling around the world since 2007, achieving international renown.
Hofman’s sculptures often originate from everyday objects. A straightforward paper boat, a pictogram of an industrial zone, or mass-produced toy figures can all serve as sources. They are all ready-mades, selected by Hofman for the beauty of their forms. Subsequently, he crafts these into clear and iconic images; cartoonish blow-ups of reality that alienate and unsettle through their sheer size and use of materials. Nevertheless they are immediately identifiable and have an instant appeal. Inflatables, window stickers, agricultural plastic sheeting: for Hofman any material can be made into art. Hofman’s projects are often very labor-intensive. Gravity is being defied though by his love of materials and craft.
An encounter with one of Hofman’s extraordinary sculptures invites us to stand still for a moment and to look, to really look and to take a picture if you like. Hofman notes, “My sculptures cause an uproar, astonishment, and put a smile on your face. They give people a break from their daily routines. Passers-by stop in front of them, get off their bicycles, and enter into conversation with other spectators. People are making contact with each other again. That is the effect of my sculptures in the public domain.”